President Joe Biden on Monday once again used his fake Oval Office for a televised speech, this time using a green screen behind his desk to show a snowy wonderland that mirrored what was happening in Washington, D.C.
Biden has used the phony office — located across a parking lot in the Eisenhower Office Building (formerly the Old Executive Office Building and before that known as the State, War, and Navy Building) — in the past, but as before, its use drew questions.
Tim Murtaugh, the former communications director for President Donald Trump, took to Twitter to ponder why he uses it.
“Has there been an explanation for why they built a fake White House set for Biden across the street from the real White House? The other day there were shipping containers outside the window. Today it’s a winter wonderland. Just bizarre and phony,” he wrote.
Has there been an explanation for why they built a fake White House set for Biden across the street from the real White House?
The other day there were shipping containers outside the window. Today it’s a winter wonderland.
Just bizarre and phony. pic.twitter.com/LbLIvrlc3Z
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) January 3, 2022
When Biden uses the office, his tech people project different background scenes, as Breitbart News White House reporter Charlie Spiering noted in October. “The digital projection window of Biden’s White House set shows flowers in bloom in the Rose Garden.”
The digital projection window of Biden’s White House set shows flowers in bloom in the Rose Garden.
The set was constructed across the street from the actual WH in the Executive Office Building pic.twitter.com/nBjUaSMhLU
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) October 6, 2021
Stephen Miller, who served in Trump’s administration and is now one of his senior advisers, offered an explanation back then.
“The reason Biden uses this bizarre virtual set for televised meetings—and not an actual room like East Room, Cabinet, Oval, Roosevelt, Sit Room, etc.—is because it allows him to read a script directly from a face-on monitor (& w/out teleprompter glass that can be seen on camera),” he wrote on Twitter.
When the story first emerged, the New York Post in October mocked Biden over his fake Oval Office and “Playschool desk”:
Twitter erupted after Biden was spotted sitting in front of the digital projection window on Wednesday as he held a meeting with business leaders and CEOs on the need to raise the debt ceiling. Some ridiculed Biden for using a “literal game show set” as president, while others accused him of deliberately trying to deceive Americans into thinking he was in the White House.
“Why does Joe Biden feel the need to use a Fake White House set across the street from the actual White House?” conservative commentator Benny Johnson tweeted. Fellow commentator Jack Posobiec wrote, “Truman Show Presidency,” adding that “they gave Joe Biden a playschool desk and a fake Oval Office in a fake White House.”
After Biden used the fake office for a photo-op, the website PolitiFact wrote a piece to fact check the claim that the White House “created a fake set for (President Joe) Biden to get his booster shot. The entire Biden presidency is one giant charade.”
“No, White House didn’t create fake set just for Joe Biden’s booster shot,” said the site.
The piece cited several social media posts before saying, “Our research uncovered no evidence that the White House intended to mislead anyone by using the windows-and-white-columns background. The backdrop had already been used in one official event five days before Biden received his booster shot”:
The booster shot was held in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House complex but separate from the White House itself.
The auditorium is used often for White House media events. Since early this summer, it has hosted Biden’s remarks on the June jobs report, a bill signing, a meeting on Western wildfires, and Vice President Kamala Harris’ remarks on broadband. It’s bigger than the White House press room where the press secretary’s daily briefings are held, so it’s better suited to some events.
Raw footage of the booster shot event uploaded by NBC News shows Biden making remarks on vaccinations at a lectern in the auditorium, then walking across the stage to a chair where he received the vaccination. Behind him was a backdrop featuring white walls and columns, along with “windows” seemingly looking out toward the White House itself. After the event, Biden took a few questions.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.